Amid allegations of improper contact with foreign women and breaking curfew, three members of the White House Communications Agency have been reassigned. The Washington Post describes the personnel as Army non-commissioned officers who were on a team to ensure secure communications on President Donald Trump's November trip to Asia.
Dana White, chief Pentagon spokeswoman, confirmed to The Associated Press that "the incident is under investigation." The names of the military personnel have not been released. They risk consequences from loss of security clearance to court martial if found guilty.
The communications agency describes itself as "a one-of-a-kind military unit dedicated to providing premier, worldwide, vital information services and communications support to the president and his staff." Members of all branches of the U.S. military are eligible to apply for acceptance and training in the program. The Post reports that the goal of the WHCA is to ensure no one eavesdrops on official communication. It also ensures that the president, vice president and necessary White House staff are immediately reachable when traveling. This is the second time members of teams traveling on presidential and vice presidential trips with the Trump administration have been accused of inappropriate behavior. Two Army and two Air Force personnel were reassigned from their duties alongside Vice President Mike Pence's August trip to Panama, the Post reported. The four face allegations that they brought foreign women to a secure area without proper approval. In 2012, members of the Secret Service under President Obama resigned after it came to light that they cavorted with prostitutes while on security duty in Colombia in advance of Obama's arrival for a tour of Latin America. NPR reported that the scandal resulted in the Secret Services clarifying protocol for what's expected and acceptable for agents when traveling abroad. A communications official for the Pentagon referred NPR to the Army and Air Force, respectively for official comment. Neither branch offered official comment on any of the charges. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.